Miniature water gardens: nature aquariums served extra dry

by | Feb 26, 2015 | Advanced Aquarist | 0 comments

Miniature water gardens: nature aquariums served extra dry

Yup. We could totally relax to this.

plantaria1.JPGRobert and Stephen Dekker operate Plantaria, perhaps one of the few (if not only) professional indoor miniature gardening services in the world. Robert, who holds a BS degree in Botany (Calvin College) and an MF in Forestry (Duke University), sought to miniaturize landscapes into environmentally controlled indoor settings so that people could enjoy them year-round.

What amazing jobs these two are doing!

Indoor gardens in aquarium form factor


By incorporating real stones and facades, waterfalls and streams, group plantings, three dimensional tiers, and canopy and understory compositions, Plantaria is able to replicate impressively majestic vistas all within spaces no larger than your standard 180 gallon aquarium.

The exhibits are kept between 60 degrees Fahrenheit to 80 degrees Fahrenheit and lit by a bank of LEDs with spectra more geared for vegetative growth (a lot more red LEDs than we see over most aquariums).  The plants are watered via an automatic timer.

Gardeners call their craft landscaping. Aquarists call our craft aquascaping.  Plantaria refers to their craft as waterscaping.  We recognize their work are not technically aquariums, but it’s also not dissimilar to paludariums.  Whatever you call it (aquarium, bonsai garden, or ultimate herp habitat), we can all agree it’s gorgeous.

You can commission an one-of-a-kind living art exhibit by contacting Plantaria for more information.  Or if you have the DIY skills and a green thumb, give this type of exhibit a try.  The results, as you see, can be well worth the effort.  As a bonsai enthusiast myself, I see limitless potential!



  • Leonard Ho

    I'm a passionate aquarist of over 30 years, a coral reef lover, and the blog editor for Advanced Aquarist. While aquarium gadgets interest me, it's really livestock (especially fish), artistry of aquariums, and "method behind the madness" processes that captivate my attention.


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